Ghanaian farmers have been urged to adopt organic fertilisers as an alternative to address the shortage in fertiliser supply when the farming season begins to help them increase production and remain in business.
Mr Francis Ennor, Upper East Regional Director, Department of Agriculture, noted that the inorganic fertiliser shortage that hit the country in 2021 was likely to repeat itself in 2022 since prices of fertilisers on the international market was still high.
“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a reduction in the production of fertilisers in the producing countries, bringing about a hike in global prices, which the government could not afford”, Mr Ennor told the Ghana News Agency in an interview at Bolgatanga.
In 2021, food production in the Upper East Region witnessed a decline and the situation was blamed on the shortage of fertilisers coupled with the late start of the rains.
The region produced 518,105 metric tons of food in 2021 as compared to the 542,176 metric tons produced in 2020, representing a 13 percent decline.
Mr Ennor indicated that if the current trend of events does not change, the situation was likely to remain the same in 2022 and farmers would be advised to patronise the open market.
“A Moroccan Company, OCP is in contact with the government to see if we can produce our own fertiliser in the country this year and if that happens, it will help and even if we are unable to meet the full requirement, we will meet farmers halfway,” he noted.
Mr Ennor said some of the inorganic fertilisers had nitrogen in them, which adversely affected the environment and therefore urged farmers to make a shift to organic fertiliser to protect the soil from nutrient loss and increase crop yields.
“We used to rely on droppings of animals and farm residues, but now we have commercial production of these organic fertilisers in bags in the liquid form and that is what we are going to encourage all our farmers to buy,” he added.
The Regional Director called for a policy that would allow strategic investment into the agriculture sector to make the sector robust and attract more Ghanaians into the sector.
He said if the youth had easy access to farm implements and inputs like seeds and fertiliser, they would be attracted to take up agriculture as a business, which would help create jobs, address rural-urban migration and reduce poverty.
“As a country, if we evaluate our agricultural sector and critically put in the needed investment, our food production would increase in excess, and that will help accomplish the policy objectives of the One District One Factory,” he added.